MAY 20, 2016 • Microsoft Corp. is bringing its Halo 5 Forge map editing tool to Windows 10 PCs as a free application later this year. Forge was first introduced with Halo 3 back in 2007 and was redesigned for Halo 5 to add more control. Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition takes that control philosophy another step forward by embracing mouse and keyboard control, which allows users a better opportunity to create higher-quality map levels. What sets the Windows 10 edition apart is the ability for users to test and play their maps on their PCs at up to 4K resolution. Maps designed on the PC can also be published on Xbox One and played on console.
Impact: This is an intriguing development in Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to share Xbox content via Windows 10. No doubt the chance to create levels on the PC is a boon for serious Halo players. The opportunity to play those modded levels on PC with friends is what fascinates. There is an argument in the community that the best part of Halo 5 is not the single-player campaign but the multiplayer options. Forge is a separate Halo game mode and started out as a relatively modest tool set to provide players an opportunity to tweak objectives, weapon and player spawns, map elements and available weapons in existing maps. Players showed so much ingenuity in modding their early maps that Bungie, and later 343 Industries, kept adding options for further creativity. For example, today up to 16 people can play on a Halo 5 Forge level, versus a limit of eight that was set originally. To be fair, this is not Halo 5 on Windows, but Microsoft is giving consumers a chance to play a significant hunk of that game’s experience free on PCs. Of course we are talking something like classic Quake II home deathmatch servers instead of the full game, but that may be enough for a lot of computer gamers. What’s more, they will be able to create detail and scale that can only be appreciated on 4K monitors. This is obviously an experiment, yet probably the most significant example so far of cross-pollinating Xbox One content to the PC platform. Forge – Halo 5: Guardians Edition plays to the strengths of the core PC gamer in a state that works just as well or better on Windows than it does on Xbox One. This is not just another port and is an endeavor well worth watching to see how it develops.